Fall in the desert is its own sort of magic and if you’ve lived here long enough you’ve come to appreciate it. Temperatures drop below the triple digits and we begin to see who has truly spent too long in the desert. Long time Las Vegans will happily wear their hoodies and boots the minute the calendar allows, regardless what the mercury may indicate, while those who are new to our warm weather prefer to pick their pumpkins in shorts and tee shirts. Personally, I need a pair of boots on to drink my cider and choose the perfect pumpkin to grace to my entry way, 90 degree or not. And for the record, I’ve been here 9 and half years.
While we may have to drink our PSL iced and lean more toward pumpkin ice cream over pumpkin pie, Las Vegas sure knows how to host a good time in the fall. Here are a few of our favorite things and printable bucket list to make sure your family makes the most of what Southern Nevada has to offer this season!
Your Fall Bucket List
This annual treasure is an extension of a year long treat for families across the Valley. The always hospitable Cowboy Max and family welcome visitors to their ranch for a good, clean (well, you will need a bath after) fun! The entire family will enjoy the old-time Nevada Franch and all of the animals that reside here including Duncan the Donkey, Oreo the goat, horses, sheep, llamas, pigs, chickens and rabbits! Decorated with an abundance of authentic Western decor, McKee ranch has photo opportunities on every corner. In addition you’re family will delight in exploring the 2 playgrounds, playing in a tee pee, enjoying free hayrides, climbing a hay pyramid, and finally picking out the perfect pumpkin!
This is McKee’s 6th year of collecting non-perishable food items for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. Guest are encouraged to bring donations during their visit.
McKee Ranch is open to the public and enjoyed all year for free, but from October 1 – October 30, there is an entry fee of $20 per family to enjoy the fall festivities and your choice of one pumpkin. The October entrance free allows the ranch to care for and continue to rescue the abandoned animals that your are able to enjoy during your visit.
◊ Give Back
The season of giving is upon us, but there is no reason you can’t start early or give back always. Whether it’s one of the many benefit walks/runs that fill our Valley parks this time of year, a food drive, or time at your child’s school, participating in your community benefits everyone. Check our Calendar of Events for opportunities or reach out to your favorite organization and ask how you can help.
This family farm opened for the fall season on September 23 with more activities than you can shake your broomstick at! Located in Washington, Utah, about 120 miles north on I-15, this 350 acre farm property hosts more than 30,000 visitors in the month of October alone. It’s no wonder people flock to the farm, there’s something for everyone! Fifteen years of fun on this farm and each year gets better. Attractions include a Pumpkin Patch, Corn Maize, the Field of Screams, Farmland (includes Jumping Pillow, Horse Swing, Rope Swing, Corn Slide, Kids’ Farm House, Duck Races, Pirate Ship, Playground, Bee Line, Trick or Treat Trail, Cow Train, and more), Chuck Wagon Diner, Wick’A Dee Witch, Camp fire and Smores, Petting Zoo, and Pig Races. Other favorites include the Witchy Weekend events likes Witches Night Out and Witches & Waffles. Plus this year’s theme is really great …
◊ Take a Hike
Southern Nevada is an outdoor playground, especially in the fall when temperatures have dropped to near perfect levels. Gather the family and head outside to enjoy time together. Hiking trails at Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon, and Mount Charleston are begging for exploration, but if you want to stay closer to home check out the Neon to Nature app and discover a trail close by your home.
Don’t be scared to get up close and personal with all the residents at this hands-on educational zoo located in Moapa. Not only will you get to meet animals from all over the world, your ticket will also grant you access to spooktacular games, arts & crafts, trick or treat stations, inflatables, pumpkin painting and more! Tickets are limited, so grab them before the disappear!
◊ Pick Your Own Produce
There’s nothing quite as rewarding as harvesting your own food. We are provided with opportunities to pick and even grow our own fruits & vegetables here in Southern Nevada.
Gilcrease Orchard is open Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday during the season from 7am – 2pm.
Vegas Roots Community Garden offers plots for gardens, a u-pick garden, and a Lil Roots program for kids. The garden is open Tues – Thurday and again on Saturday from 9am – 1pm.
Held in the Magical Forest, Opportunity Village once again sets the bar high with its family festivities. Operating from October 14 – 31st, you have plenty of time to get in there have some fun and support the mission behind Opportunity Village.
◊ Jump in a pile of leaves
Okay, so we’re not in New England where piles of leaves would be plentiful, but the bonus is we’re also not raking those leaves right? Don’t fret though, there are plenty of places across the Valley to grab an annual leave picture and have some fall fun! Don’t want to jump or roll in leaves, then go the way of Instagram and snap a photo of your booted feet amongst the fallen colors of fall. Whatever you do, just enjoy it.
Former Nevada Lt. Governor Lonnie Hammargren, M.D., and his wife, Sandy, open their home for the 21st year to celebrate the 152nd Nevada Day and welcome candidates from all political parties to come together for a weekend of fun and music. The famous Hammargren Home of Nevada History will be open to the public for house tours and live entertainment. This year Dr. Hammargren will unveil his new book “Neurosurgeon for the Gladiators” which details his extraordinary life as a medical professional and political leader.
If you ever meet him, you’ll never forget it. Don’t miss this chance to meet an extraordinary member of our state’s great history and see his eclectic collection of Nevada memorabilia.
The eclectic backyard with a center stage has 80 X 40 foot scale topographic map of Nevada painted on the concrete floor. It’s a stretch of your imagination but much of the Doctor’s collections of bits of Nevada history are displayed in proximity to that topographic map of Nevada.
◊ Eat a Candy Apple
Candied? Caramel? Covered in Chocolate? Pick your poison and indulge in the fruits of an autumn harvest. ‘Tis the season for festivals and the delicious food they bring along with them. It’s hard to beat a funnel cake for dinner and a candy apple for dessert, just once a year.
◊ Take a Family Photo
The cool temps, brilliant colors, and general feelings that come along with Autumn and all its glory make it the perfect time to grab a family photo. Bonus, if you’re organized you can use these for holiday cards or even gifts.
Our Choice: Lala Photography’s Annual Pumpkin Patch Portraits Not only does Lauren (Lala) and her staff (ask for Ms. Banana) know how to charm a smile from even the grumpiest tot, but their outdoor sets at the Ranch create a perfect backdrop that fits the personality of any family. Let Lala make magic for you and then hang out at McKee Ranch and create even more memories. Book Your Session.
◊ Show Gratitude
Being grateful should be a daily practice, but life can get in the way. Use this time to set an example for your children and demonstrate how important it is to show gratitude. You can start a family or personal journal, create a thankful tree (this one is my favorite), make grateful garland, and even bury a Thanksgiving time capsule. However you choose to demonstrate it, be grateful.
◊ Art in the Park (Boulder City)
In its 54th year, Art in the Park takes place the first weekend of October. This year the much-anticipated festival, located about 20 minutes outside of Las Vegas, is moving to a new location and will be held at Veterans Park.
ABOUT ART IN THE PARK : Art in the Park is one of the largest outdoor juried art festivals in the Southwest and is the largest fundraiser for the Boulder City Hospital Foundation. The event is held over two days in beautiful Boulder City, Nevada, not far from Lake Mead, Hoover Dam and the bright lights of Las Vegas. The event is free to the public, and although Boulder City’s population is just over 15,500, the event draws over 100,000 visitors.
◊ Bake Something as a Family
Baking is an experience that brings so much warmth to a home and family, not just because the oven is at least 350 degrees either. The season is full of abundant fruits and vegetables that make for fantastic breads and pies, but you don’t even have to get complicated, make some chocolate chip cookies and enjoy a treat together.
Our Family Favorite: Pumpkin Bread
Head up to the mountain and enjoy the crisp air of fall and the bounty of colors that comes with it. It’s a great time to get in some hikes, have a picnic, enjoy a camp out, and just have fun in the fresh air. Condition on the mountain are updated regularly here, and you can also find information and maps on trails and campgrounds.
◊ Eat a Pomegranate
Ancient Egyptians regarded the pomegranate as a symbol of prosperity and ambition, but I just think it’s a seriously under rated fruit that we see each Fall. Don’t cheat and buy the neat package of pomegranate arils, crack one open fresh enjoy it right from the skin. (Warning: pomegranate juice does stain)
Find more fun this fall and stay up to date on festivals, pumpkin patches, and more by visiting our calendar.